Governor of Abia State, Okezie Ikpeazu, Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi and the Director General of the Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside, yesterday agreed on the need for the federal government to grow the socio-economic life of the nation by diversifying the economy.
They spoke in Abuja at a symposium titled “The new economy and its impact on the less privileged citizens’ put together by The Osasu Show (TOS), a television programme anchored by Miss Osasu Igbinedion.
Contributing to a discussion on ending poverty and bridging the inequalities gap through infrastructure development and social protection mechanisms, Governor Ikpeazu said the greatest problem in Nigeria was social mobilisation and social engineering.
He regretted the current situation of pervasive lack of belief and faith in government enterprise, adding that the people were no longer on the same page with the government both at the state and the national level.
He added that because Nigerians didn’t spend a lot of time to look for peculiar solutions to the peculiar problems in our environment.
“It is with this background that in Abia State, we decided to encapsulate our pillars of development around the things we can do very well: trade and commerce. You can’t talk about trade and commerce without mentioning Abia, Aba, Abiriba, and all my people.
“You must also realise that we are good in the things we can do with our hands: small scale manufacturing, shoe production, garment making and all that. But education is important also.
“Our emphasis has been to create wealth for our people, using the avenue that they know already and we have been emphasising Made-in-Aba as a means of creating wealth and drawing relevance and growing the confidence of our people.
“And of all our efforts in the campaign, we have attracted almost N2 billion by direct sales to the average Aba person in terms of production of military shoes and all those kind of things,” Ikpeazu said.
Contributing to the discussion, Amaechi said until the current dispensation, Nigeria was not producing anything other than corruption.
The former Rivers governor said before the advent of the Buhari-led administration, Nigeria was importing chicken and tomatoes, with over $3 billion spent on the importation of chicken and $2 billion for fish.
Amaechi however said in order to alleviate poverty in the country, the federal government had to diversify the economy and also came up with the Economic Recovery Growth Plan (ERGP).
Also speaking, Dakuku said the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), was an affirmation of the fact that we were facing a peculiar challenge and if nothing was done about it, we would be endangered.
Dakuku identified infrastructure as one of the critical ways of ending poverty, saying that infrastructure served as a stimulus to addressing poverty.
Dakuku said: “If you want to address poverty, one critical element is infrastructure. It stands as a stimulus to addressing poverty. When we talk of infrastructure, we need to look at transportation.
The poorest of the poor will never earn their livelihood if they are not able to be involved in some forms of economic activity.”
On her part, the chief host, Miss Osasu Igbinedion urged the government and Nigerians to work collectively towards arresting the growing rate of poverty in the country.